Five Things We Learned from the Ravens' 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills
Baltimore Sun reporter Childs Walker analyzes the Ravens after their Week 4 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
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3. After four games, Joe Flacco still looks out of sorts with his receivers.( Timothy T. Ludwig, USA TODAY Sports / September 29, 2013 )
With Brandon Stokley on the inactive list, the Ravens used a remarkably inexperienced corps of wide receivers behind Torrey Smith.
Flacco's lack of synergy with this group manifested in a succession of mistimed passes and the quarterback's first career five-interception game.
Tight end Ed Dickson continued his nightmare season when he let a pass ricochet off his hands into the waiting arms of Bills safety Jim Leonhard. That gaffe led directly to a Buffalo touchdown. With the drops mounting, Dickson's productive 2011 season seems an increasingly distant memory.
But Flacco was hardly blameless in his struggles. He underthrew Smith in the end zone , leading to a third-quarter interception that cost the Ravens an important scoring chance. He then failed to spot Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso jumping an underneath route for another interception.
Despite 347 passing yards, Flacco played his sloppiest game of the season.
It would be wrong to portray the passing game as a lost cause.
Smith has met high expectations, though he couldn't haul in a catchable sideline pass as the Ravens tried to rally in the fourth quarter.
Marlon Brown made a terrific first-down catch on the Ravens' opening drive, holding his position at the marker and extending his arms to snare a bullet from Flacco. He again showed his toughness in the second quarter, shedding his cover man with a stiff arm to burst open for a touchdown catch.
Deonte Thompson survived a vicious hit to the head to make a vital 33-yard catch in the fourth quarter.
There's real promise here, and perhaps time is the only remedy for the inconsistency we saw in Buffalo.